Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One. Last. Valentine's. Gasp... And The Lie

I figure since it's still February (for one more day!), and I just took our Valentine's tablecloth off the table, I can do a last post about Valentine's Day. Dave and I have an agreement that he does not buy me flowers before, or on, Valentine's Day because, even though I LOVE flowers, the inflated prices are crazy and we don't want to support that. So the Saturday after Valentine's, Dave bought me a bouquet of lilies. And I have loved watching them open and change. Here they are the day Dave bought them.
Then this past Friday I took a couple of more pictures, including my favourite one (I think!). I just love the 'macro setting' on our new camera.
Today, some of the flowers were starting to lose their petals so I re-cut the stems, cut off the dying blooms and rearranged them. This is what they look like today.
I love how they started out such a deep purple and now they are more pink-y. But as the flowers get older they start going deep purple again. There are still five buds on these stems which could potentially open so it's possible I could get another week of enjoyment out of them. Flowers just make my heart sing.

And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, the lie from yesterday's post. And just to let you know Dave guessed that the answer was either 5 or 6 which were both true. Ha!

Sadly, #4 -- the intense ice scraping -- was all true. And so because we had to get it done, or pay up to a $500 fine, we shortened our evening errands considerably. We had to hit Wal-Mart because we had to get two ice scrapers to aid us in our task. Since we were so close to Costco anyways we did that stop too. Dave dropped me off and went to find a parking spot. I was a little (a lot?!) rude and practically ran the whole way inside the store. By the time Dave had parked, gotten the kids out of the car and into the store, I had picked everything up and we were ready to pay. So I took the kids back out and Dave paid and we were gone, just a short fifteen minutes after we pulled into the parking lot. As I said to Dave, "I made the ultimate sacrifice and didn't even glance at the clothes."

Thus, thanks to the ice scraping and general "laundry takes forever to finish", number 3 is the lie. I really would declare a national holiday if our laundry was completely finished in one day. It would be nothing short of a minor miracle and cause for a huge celebration. And since so many of you guessed Number 3, I'm thinking you either know me really well or you can relate to the never-ending laundry tasks! (And I super-surprised that Dave didn't get it right because he asked me if I needed him to bring the basket of clean, unfolded, laundry upstairs yesterday morning! Ha!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

3 5 Truths And A Lie

Do you know the game "3 Truths and a Lie?" where you share four facts about yourself but one of them is a lie. Well, that's what this post is about. Which of the following things which have happened in the past 24 hours is the lie? Leave your guess in the comments.

1) We went to Costco last night and getting in, getting what we needed (including a short list for our friends), and getting out only took us fifteen minutes. Fastest Costco trip ever! (Normally we're there for about an hour, minimum.)

2) When I went to get Sam after his quiet time yesterday, his drawers were all open and his clothes were in piles on his bed and on his desk. When I asked what was going on, Sam replied, "I've picked out my clothes for the next few days." There were about five piles with pjs, t-shirts, shorts (optimistic child!!!), and a couple of pairs of socks. He is definitely my child :)

3) Yesterday I did four (HUGE!) loads of laundry and, miracle of miracles, they are all folded and put away already. I feel like declaring a national holiday. Fastest laundry turn around time ever!

4) As we were heading out for errands last night, I checked the mail for the first time that day and discovered a notice from the City. We had until noon today to completely clear our sidewalks, down to the pavement. They were covered with about two inches of snow covered ice, which quite honestly is safer than bare pavement which gets really slick in our current season of melt-freeze-melt-freeze so almost all the sidewalks are covered with a thin layer of sheer ice. So we bought ice chippers and between Dave and I spent about six hours (total) chipping ice. I can barely move today but our sidewalks are clear.

5) When Rachel crawls up the stairs now, she stops about halfway up, sees herself in the mirror above the piano and says, "Hi!" and then "Bye!" and continues up the stairs. Cutest thing ever!

6) Today after Sam had peed on the potty he went running into his room and Rachel went running into the bathroom. In an panicked attempt to prevent her from trying to empty the potty herself (she's done this before with messy results!) I grabbed the potty and without thinking dumped it into the sink. sigh. Now I have to clean the sink.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Need Another Weekend... recover from the one we just had! It was a lot of fun but action-packed. As I said in my last post, we went into Toronto on Friday night to visit with our friend, Isaac, who was home on a break from teaching English in Korea. Isaac jumped right in and started reading Sam his favourite book, Richard Scarry!
And then we headed out to Pan on the Danforth, a Greek restaurant for supper. I LOVE Greek. When I ordered the Greek salad, our server asked if I wanted it with lettuce or without. I ordered without and my jaw just about hit the table when this was delivered to our table. (Sidenote: Our friends were wondering if Sam and Rachel would do okay with Greek and I said, "Sam loves feta and olives" which he ate a ton of, as well as about a third of my salad. My kids aren't normal!)
Saturday morning we had a dance party in the kitchen while Marika made crepes with peach sauce. (Sidenote: Can I go back to Saturday and have that meal again??? Sooooo yummy!) Rachel was insisting on holding every stuffed animal Donny and Marika had in their house and Sam was insisting on wearing Donny's "Noogler" (New Google employee) hat.
After a bit of time, which I spent helping Donny and Marika de-clutter a bit of their office (future plans for further de-cluttering are in the works and I can't wait! (I have an obsession.)), we headed home. We spent a quick hour at home and then headed out to Russ, Julie, Vanessa and Saskia's for supper. We got to see their awesome new house (they built a second story onto their house this past summer) which now includes a dance studio and a sauna. Then we had an amazing curry meal and peach kuchen for dessert. Sam monopolized Saskia's attention most of the evening and Vanessa and I made plans for me to go and spend a day with her in Toronto. I can't wait to discover her environment at the University of Toronto. Her college has a weekly dinner where they wear robes, just like in Harry Potter!

Sunday morning we went to church and, since there were only two kids in my Sunday School class, we had Sunday School at Tim Horton's! It was a lot of fun and we actually covered all the material in the lesson. Amazing what a little hot chocolate and donuts will do for Grade 6s and their ability to focus.

After church we went to Tim and Janice's to have our family celebration for Willem's birthday. We did our regular pizza lunch and had a delicious chocolate pudding cake! Oh yummmmmm... (Reminder to self: E-mail people and get their recipes!) And I think Willem like our card and gift, which to be honest, was not only suggested but also bought for us by his parents. Oh, and wrapped too because we're just awesome like that! Thanks again Janice and Tim for the suggestion, the shopping and the presentation. Sam did make the card though, dictating what should be on it and decorating it.
After lunch the kids all played. As you can tell, Rachel adores Tessa and Willem. There are no pictures of Sam because he was upstairs playing with all of Willem's "cool toys!" Sam adores Tessa and Willem too.
Last night I got Sam bathed and in bed, with stories read, in about fifteen minutes flat, and then Dave and I did our 2012 taxes. Since I wasn't working, we moved and Dave's work took off taxes as if he'd been working for them all year, we are getting a really sweet return. And now we're dreaming about what to do with it...! If only we could always get that much money from the government for taking about an hour to tell them about ourselves. :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

3 Men And A Little Lady

Also known as, an evening visiting with our friend, Isaac, who was home on break from teaching in Korea, which he has been doing for the past two years. We hadn't seen Isaac since Sam was about three months old. Stay tuned for stories about the weekend -- coming on Monday!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Story of My Life -- In Family Pictures

Today I'm linking up with Kelly for Show Us Your Life: Family Pictures.

Once upon a time there was a little girl and her family didn't take a lot of family pictures. There were reasons for that, which the little girl understood, but they aren't important to this story. What IS important is that for about seven years after Grade 5 whenever that little girl went to her aunts and uncles' houses the same old family picture (with her in glasses and braces and corduroy overall knickers for goodness sakes!) was always on their fridge. So she determined that when she had a family of her own she would take lots of family pictures.
My family in the late 70s. I think this was a church directory photo taken by some professional photographer. I'm loving my dad's beard and tie, my mom's pantsuit and collar, and the shortness of my dress! Hahaha!!!

So the little girl eventually grew up, got married and got pregnant. And convinced her husband that they should take part in a cheesy professional photo shoot on their vacation in Jamaica. (Trust me, I picked the least cheesy picture I could!)
Then a little boy named Sam was born to them and the woman was soooooo excited to have professional family photos taken so she subjected her family to them when her son was three months of age...
 ...six months of age...
 ...and one year old.
Notice how her husband was less and less excited as the year went on!
Then around the time of Sam's second birthday, the woman won a photo shoot and portraits on Facebook. Awesomeness!!! So she decided to use it to get some maternity pictures as well as some pictures of Sam at two. (My absolute favourite picture from this shoot is when the photographer asked if I would mind having some topless photos taken and then I joked, "Only if Dave gets topless as well." The photographer thought that was a great idea and then Sam, upon seeing both of us without shirts, insisted on being topless too! So we have a picture of me, Dave and Sam all tastefully topless and laughing hysterically! But I decided not to share that photo with the interwebs so you get this one instead!)
 (photo by Heather Muse Photography. If you want to see more photos from our session on Heather's blog go here and scroll down to the last post.)
Finally the new baby arrived, she was named Rachel and the family pictures now had Rachel in them. Here's the family with Rachel at seven weeks old.
And here's the family this past summer, shortly after Sam turned three and very shortly before Rachel turned one.
And here's an informal picture (taken by a friend) the family used on their holiday card this past December. And you can be sure that this family will continue having family pictures taken, both formally and informally, until about forever!
All pictures, unless otherwise credited, were taken at a grocery store chain here in Canada (Zehrs or Superstore, depending on where you live).
Also, as you can tell, I don't have these pictures as digital files on my computer, so I had to dig them all out of albums, take a picture of them and then post that. I'm sorry if the quality isn't great!
And if you haven't gotten enough of family pictures you can go here to see a post I did on the outtakes from our holiday card in 2011.
And now I'm going to go get some new family picture ideas by visiting the other blogs in this carnival. My family will be thrilled :)

Feeling Legitimately Drained

22) Try to give blood again.
     (I have tried to give blood before but my hemoglobin is usually too low. That's no excuse and I should really try again.)
 Done February 20

I'm quite excited about the fact I did this successfully last night -- only the second time in my life I've actually given blood. The first time was in December of 2001. I have another appointment booked for April 17. And sorry about the potentially graphic picture -- Dave took it so blame him! Also I have Day 3 hair because of a looooong, "comedy-of-errors", major parenting fail, story...

So on Monday night Sam was having a bath, Rachel was going back and forth between her room, Sam's room and the bathroom and I was playing a game on the iPad in the hallway which was between all three rooms. Rachel was talking to Sam in the bathroom when I suddenly heard a very loud splash. I ran into the bathroom (two steps away) and Rachel was crying and struggling to sit up in the tub. She had done a head dive in fully clothed.

I hauled her out, yelled for Dave and we stripped off her wet heavy sweatpants and sweatshirt and got her dried off and calmed down. I hung her clothes over the shower curtain rod  to dry. And then not three minutes later the rod came crashing down on my and Sam's heads. OWWWW! And it has fallen no less than five times since then. I am refusing to shower until A) We get a new one or B) It stays up for longer than twelve hours without issues (which it has almost reached.) Therefore I have Day 3 hair today. Better that than the rod falling on me while I'm showering, knocking me unconscious and completely soaking the bathroom. At least that's my opinion.

And I have vowed never ever to play on the iPad again while Rachel is visiting the bathroom while Sam is in the bath.

And that's life at our house these days! Never a dull moment. 

Edited to add: I showered this morning and the shower curtain rod stayed up. It felt like a minor victory!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"What Did You Learn In School Today?"

This morning I took Rachel to check out her preschool for next year. It's the same school where Sam goes now but I wasn't sure if Rachel would be ready or not. She definitely proved that she is ready and will have an awesome time!
She hung up her jacket nicely in a cubby.
She rolled up her sleeves to wash her hands.
She ate snack with the other kids like a big girl
and participated nicely in circle time.
And she had fun playing with Nancy in the gym.

She will be going one morning a week starting in September. The only problem is going to be her freaking out every time we drop Sam off between now and then (twice a week, thank you very much!) because she doesn't get to stay yet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

41 Before 41: Second Update

It's time for Update 2 of the "41 Before 41" list. (And I accidentally typed "41" with the shift key down and it shows up as "$!" which I am taking as a good sign of...something!) Anyways, I've gotten a few things actually crossed off the list this time. Yay!!!

(And I am also only posting about ones where there have been changes. It gets too unwieldly otherwise. To see the original list go here. To see the previous update, go here.)

4) Read through all the Today's Parents. 
     (We have ended our subscription to this magazine but they are still sending them to us. And we haven't read them since last March. So I'm going to read them and recycle them and then get them to stop sending them to us. Probably. I like free.) The pile in the picture on the left is done. I still have most of the pile in the second picture to go. And they have FINALLY stopped sending them to us and I didn't even have to do anything about it so I don't have to debate with myself about "It's not honest to receive them if we're not paying for them" vs "THEY'RE SENDING THEM TO US FOR FREE!" Yay!
8) Get Sam toilet trained. (day trained only) Sam is not toilet trained yet but Rachel has started sitting on the potty. It's now a race to see who will be trained first. sigh.

11) Make it to a Zumba class. 
     (I have been trying to get to one for seven months. This is looooong overdue. (BTW, the classes are at horrible times for me which is why this one is difficult.)) DONE -- as of February 16 thanks to our long weekend plans of a road trip getting cancelled.

16) Blog weekly about Hymn of the Week. I find this one hard to do when we don't go to church so I haven't done so great with it.

17) Register with the stem cell and marrow network.
     (I wrote away for information in September. I just need to do two quick things and send it back. Again, why hasn't this happened yet?!?!)
Done January 30 (If Dave had been home I would have gotten him to take pictures of me swabbing my cheeks (hopefully in the correct manner) to get my DNA samples. That would have been a sight to see. Fortunately for me (and you!), only Sam was around to witness it.)
35) Perform five random acts of kindness.
     (Suggestions welcome. How to do this anonymously???)  Shoveled neighbour’s driveway and sidewalk – Jan 28; (UPDATED TO ADD: Neighbour B came over and told me that Neighbour A (who's driveway I shoveled) came to ask if he knew who had done it because he was quite happy someone had done that for him. Supposedly Neighbour A is a hermit who doesn't talk to people in the neighbourhood and this was the first time ever Neighbour B had talked to Neighbour A. And Neighbour B talks to EVERYONE, including my parents who visit once in awhile from Saskatchewan. All this is to say, you never know what will happen because of a random act of kindness so go out and do one! (Now my public service announcement for the day is done.))

Does letting someone go in front of me in line at the grocery store count? (Although I really only did that because Dave decided to go find some more things after I'd already been in line. So I knew he wouldn't be back in time for me to pay for everything together so I let the people behind me go ahead of me. I don't really think it counts. I think need to do it for "no other reason than to be nice." What's your opinion???)

36) Dust Sam's shelves.
     (Again, this is kind of dumb but every time I'm in his room I notice the ever-growing layer of dust on his shelves. Why have they not been dusted since we moved in last May? It's ridiculous!)
Done January 30 (Lucky for you, you get to see before pictures with dust (the top row) and artistic after pictures with no dust and reorganized shelves (the bottom row). I also cleaned his desk off but there's no before picture of that.) EDITED TO ADD: His shelves don't still look this awesome but they did about three weeks ago when I first did it.

37) Read the Bible everyday.
     (I have a website I started following last year during Lent. I want to make this a habit.) I was really behind on this but now I'm getting back on track. After this afternoon I should be completely caught up with my Bible reading website. Which is this one, if you're interested.

38) Give up Facebook for Lent.
     (I did this last year and it felt so good. It totally changed how I use Facebook and I think it would be good to do again this year.) So far, so good. I'm also trying to check my Blogger Dashboard less often during the day which has been hit and miss so far. I mean you all don't write a new post every ten minutes do you? So why do I need to check it that often?! A few times a day should be good, right?!

39) Don't yell at the kids, or lose my temper with them, for a week.
     (This is my major failing as a parent. I get frustrated and impatient and I yell. If I don't yell for a week that should help change my habits right?) Okay, so the only reason this one isn't off the list yet is because I've been doing better with this but haven't actually kept track of myself not yelling for a week officially. So maybe I should start that one today. But having this on my list has definitely curtailed my yelling which makes me happier. Yay!

41) Complete everything on this list.
     (I know, I know. That's kind of a cop-out. I'm having a hard time thinking of number 41. How about you help a sister-blogger out and make some suggestions as to one last thing I could do??? Thank you!) I'm still open to suggestions for this one...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Around The World in 80 Days 3 Hours

Eight years ago today Willem was born. I have great memories of spending three days with his older sister Tessa during that time. Today I was invited to help out with his birthday party and it was so much fun! I basically got to be the photographer (and sometimes customs agent) on a quick round the world tour. Would you like to come with?
Make sure you have your passport or you're going to get deported!
Tim showed the travelers their itinerary of where they were going. And don't forget your carry-on luggage!
The first stop on our world tour is Hawaii! Tim was quite the authentic Hawaiian in his shirt! Did you know the Hawaiian alphabet only has twelve letters?!? I didn't know that. And Tim informed the travelers that the limbo was originally a funeral dance. You started out low and then, as you ascended to heaven, the bar was raised.
Willem and Tessa were pretty good at limbo-ing.
Next the travelers were off to China, where 1 in 5 people in the world live. Also, did you know we have the Chinese to thank for inventing toilet paper?!
In China our travelers learned how to use chopsticks to transfer gummy fish from one bowl to another. Then they got to eat fortune cookies and read their fortunes. Willem's was "You will run into an old friend" so he ran up and bumped into me and said, "Hi!" It totally made me laugh :)
Then it was off to Australia. I kind of missed the facts about Australia because I was running back and forth taking pictures.
In Australia our travelers participated in kangaroo races (jumping while holding a ball between your knees) and watched kangaroo videos.
Then it was off to France. Did you know that until about thirty years ago in France you couldn't name your child a name which wasn't on an approved list of names?!
The French are famous for their perfume so there was visit to a perfumery where you could smell the various perfumes. Janice had put things like a lemon slice, coffee, vinegar and mint toothpaste in the "perfume bottles" and then the travelers had to guess what they were smelling. My favourite answer was the kid who said one thing smelled like "a naked body" (vanilla) and "trees" for pencil shavings!
After that all the travelers were off to Russia.
In Russia, each traveler received a stacking (matriushka) doll with a name written on it in the Cyrillic alphabet and they had to figure out who it belonged too. Tim got in the Russian spirit by wearing his Coca Cola shirt.
Next it was off to Germany, where the travelers relaxed by watching a German-inspired Gummy Bears cartoon.
During this time I helped set up the pizza and vegetables for lunch, grabbed a bit to eat, and the adults all grabbed some liquid energy!
After lunch it was cake-cutting time.
And the cake even had a (world) surprise in the middle!
The travelers ended their world tour with a trip to Mexico and a pinata (which I have no pictures of).
And then they were "deported" to their homes and the tour guides/customs people relaxed! This was a super-fun party and I was so glad I was able to help out. But after all that traveling I am exhausted so I think I need some more Coke! Ha!